by Richard Powers - £10.99 Vintage (2004)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099453833 | ISBN 10: 0099453835
Jonah, Joseph and Ruth are the children of mixed-race parents determined to protect them from the grinding effects of race.
Hothouse children, they are all musically talented, but they cannot be protected from the world for long. Jonah becomes a successful young tenor, but the world of opera can only accept him as a 'brilliant Negro singer'; Joseph, our narrator, becomes a pianist and devotes his talents to the service of his brother's; Ruth turns her back on classical music ('white music') and disappears, on the run with her black husband under suspicion of being a Black Panther.
Powers brilliantly and devastatingly delineates the tragedy of race in America, as it unfolds from the Civil Rights movement to Rodney King and Louis Farrakhan, through the lives and choices of one family, caught on the cusp of identities.
(Price & availability last checked: June 2018)
In booklists: Fiction: The Civil Rights Movement, Being Multi-Racial / Mixed Race, Writers by Surname - P, Fiction and Poetry - Anti-Racism, In categories: Fiction, Anti-Racism, Black, Asian & Other Diasporas, Poetry & Writing,